Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Its Been Real." 6-15-15

Well this is it. Honestly it doesn't seem real that all of this is coming to a close. I feel like I’ve been a missionary my whole life, haha. Man, how can someone possibly describe or summarize two of the hardest and happiest years of their life? I don’t think it will ever be possible to adequately express all of what I’ve learned and felt on the mission. I don’t think the keys on this computer could produce words, sentences, or symbols that would describe the love I have for my mission. I don’t want to imagine my life had I not chosen to serve. It wasn't exactly what I imagined it would be like, I don’t think it is for any missionary that goes out into the field. But everything that I’ve experienced, every hard thing that I’ve had to conquer, every person that I met, every area I was transferred to, it was all a part of His plan and what He had intended for me to fulfill.

The mission has meant everything to me. I was thinking about how truly important my calling is. How truly crucial and indispensable it really is. You can’t even begin to know or imagine how many lives you will touch and how people’s lives will be effected for good down the road because of your efforts.  If it weren’t for missionaries just like me, my father would not have joined the church 17 years ago. If he wouldn’t have joined the church when I was a young boy, I would not have grown up within the gospel and it would have been exceedingly harder than it already was for me to have made the decision to serve a mission. Honestly I probably would not have gone. And it can be traced back to two young men in their early 20s with the same first name "Elder", who decided to serve the Lord, not really knowing what they were getting themselves into, but followed the spirit, worked hard, and did what the Lord led them to do, whatever it may have been. Little did they know that it would have an effect on me and in turn every single person I have ever met on my mission? Do you see the importance?

There is that thing in life that we are all searching for. There is a void that we are all trying to fill. A desire to be satisfied. So we go out trying to find what it is. Whether it be the need for more friends, material things, a job position, something, whatever it may be. So we go out trying to find it, but we still have this hollow feeling and a need that still needs satisfied. That thing that we are all searching for, that void that needs to filled that we as human beings all long for, is The Gospel. Nothing else in this world or this life will compare, it just simply will not. You can spend a life time buying and doing temporal things to try and find it or satisfy that need, but you will be discouraged time and time again.

And what if it’s all true? What if everything that you have heard and done your whole life is really true? Do you understand what that means? It means eternal families, its means the Priesthood has been restored, it means Christ's church is upon the earth, its means so many glorious things that we cannot even begin to imagine or wrap our minds around as mortals. And that gives me enough initiative and drive for me to keep going. To keep learning, to keep searching, to keep progressing, to keep serving, to keep spreading the gospel, and to stay firm and forever steadfast in the things that I believe. There is too much to lose. I hope that I never lose sight of what I’ve learned here in Carlsbad. It has changed me forever, and I’m not looking back.

2 Tim 4:6-7
".The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I  have kept the faith."

I love you all, can’t wait to see you on Wednesday!

-Elder Jon Daniel

-It’s been real Carlsbad

Monday, June 8, 2015

"Laden With Sheaves" 6-8-15

Well I don’t have too much time today, we have to prepare for Zone training Meeting tomorrow, so I’ll get to the cool important stuff.
 Saturday was Diana's baptism (our investigator from Russia). It was amazing. Everything ran smoothly, she was a bit nervous but she didn't get cold feet, thank goodness, haha. It was crazy how many people showed up, it was packed! We had to keep bringing in chairs there were so many people. She was confirmed yesterday in church by one of her friends from work, it was a sweet experience. She was simply invited to church one day by her boss at her job where she works as a CPA, and the rest is history. She is a living example of how by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. Just a simple invite by a friend is all it took. I’m so excited for her and the joy that the gospel will bring her the rest of her life.
We re-picked up two new investigators, Steve and Victoria. And guess where Victoria is from? You guessed it, Russia!!! haha. I don't know why, but lately we have been teaching a ton of people from over there. We were able to bring Brett Martinue, a member of the ward who served in Ukraine with us, and he was able to have a cool convo with her in her native language, she was super stoked about that! It was pretty cool. They are a young couple in their mid-20’s. They a very humble and will act truthfully on the answers they receive. They both straight up told us when we asked, "what if the Book of Mormon is true?" they said "well, we will have to join then!" haha. I’m excited to keep working with them this next little bit I have left.
I’m using a racing bike from a member now, so I’m not dying using brother Bogarts bike anymore, which is awesome.
Something I realized last week is that Flossy and L. Tom Perry passed away within a day of each other.. Isn’t that weird? haha. They're both chill'n in paradise, preach’n the gospel.
We went to the temple this last week. It was beautiful as always. I’m glad that we were able to catch it on a sunny day. "May grey" and "June gloom" are upon us right now in So Cal which makes everything all dark and sad because of the marine layer that covers everything. The excitement is still the same every time it comes into view as were driving down the I-5. It’s like the feeling you get when you’re a little kid and you are headed to 6 flags for the first time, hah.

I wish I had more time to talk!
I love you all,
-Elder Daniel

-San Diego temple with the Farci Elders!
-We don't have the truck, so we cant use Bluetooth anymore when using the phone

-Pacific Ocean view from the Cardiff Building
-One of the coolest baptisms of my mission, Diana

-Bogey may eat your food without asking sometimes, but he is a true bro

The house of levity 6-1-15

This week a lot of funny things happened.
Last week we were riding our bikes to a lesson and we took a short cut through an apartment complex. For some reason I thought we were stopping in the complex so I took my helmet off. Elder Matson kept going through down to the stop light and up the hill and I followed behind him. As I got to the stop light an SUV full of beautiful young women blasting music and singing at the top of their lungs out the window pulled up at the red light. I proceeded to turn right up the hill, but as I did so my front tire clipped the edge of the curb and I nearly toppled over my handle bars like a rag doll. Luckily I was able to catch myself in the nick of time. Unfortunately it was pretty noticeable that I had almost ate it hard, and as I started to ride up the hill I gave all the girls a good laugh, and one of them in the front passenger seat yelled at me as she was laughing and told me to put my helmet back on.. So that was fun, hah.

We helped Yong Cha, a Chinese lady in our ward, with some yard work at one of her rental properties. When we got there she told us that we were getting rid of some Birds of Paradise trees, (they’re basically like palm trees with big leaves and has orange blooms that look like the head of a bird), and they can grow pretty tall. In our case they were pretty tall. So we were wondering how she was going to take these things out, and she pulls out this electrical chain saw, haha. And we went right to work when we got there. She went ham on those trees! Imagine a short little old Chinese lady with a chain saw going to town on some tropical vegetation, haha. She cut up the two trees in about 20 minutes and we had them all loaded in the back of her van within the hour. It reminded me of all the random work and things we have done over the years with you mom, hah.
I don't know if I’ve told you before, but Elder Matson sleep talks and sleep walks every night, literally. It’s pretty funny. He doesn't just speak gibberish though, the only thing that he sleep talks about is missionary work. The other night he sat up in his bed and taught the whole first lesson, haha. That's when you know when you've been on your mission for a long time.

 Whenever we go over Chris and Gloria's, Chris always says "welcome to the house of levity guys!” they always try to get us to break the rules, but we stay strong! They’re always watching a Padres game or something else like Storage Wars and they always try to get us to watch it. But we use our stealth missionary tactics to get out of it every time. We probably won’t be over there too much at the house of levity this week because Chris is having surgery on his eyes to get some cataracts out.
Yesterday we contacted a dad and his son in their yard trimming their palm trees and we noticed they had an accent. They were Persian but they both had English accents, we found out that they were from London. And we also found out that they practice Sikhism. Some fun facts about their religion is that they grow their hair long and wrap it in a turban and they can legally carry around a sword, (usually a dagger), as a part of their religion. It’s pretty sweet. They were pretty nice fellows, didn't want to learn more though. That was the first time I had ever met anyone that had practiced that religion.

Diana is going to be baptized this Saturday!!!!!!!! Keep her in your prayers that she won’t get cold feet. I don't think that will happen with her, but we’ve had that happen a few different times lately, so you never know. 
So I had my exit interview on Friday, President Kendrick usually does them a week or two early for all the departing missionaries. He gave me a TON of advice on different things that he usually gives all the missionaries going home. At the end of the interview I asked him "out of any piece of advice that he could ever give me what would be most important one". What he told me was a little different from what I expected, I thought he was going to give me this drawn out lecture on some gospel topic, but this is what he said. "Very few things in this life are either fatal or final, nothing is worth getting upset about." Just as simple and profound as that. Think about it though, 99.999999% of every disagreement that we have with someone will be about absolutely nothing. Nothing is worth all the mental energy that we put into getting angry about something that is temporal. The only thing that really merits are tension is making sure that we are clean, everything else comes and goes.

I love you all,
-Elder Daniel

-Found Excalibur, its not stuck in a stone, its chill'n in Bogey's room next to his dresser.

-CRC service with the zone in Encinitas.

-Convinced Brother Bogart to take my spot yesterday.

"Mom its the God guys!!" 5-26-15

YES!!!! Congrats Walter and Katlyn!!!!!!!!!!!!! Proud of you guys! Welcome to the big leagues! I loved all the pictures of you guys. yall are all look'n good. haha. Im pretty jealous of Jeffery's beard by the way. I bet it was fun having the family over and celebrating. I hope everyone had a great time!
President Kendrick has started a new revolution in the mission. He is chopping the number of cars in the mission in half and creating a new policy where the cars left in the mission will only be used for administrative purposes, (meetings, pday,.. etc.). So EVERYONE is on foot or on bike. Elder Ballard said that is you talk to more people you will baptize more. So that's the culture that we are instituting now. Its been fun starting this new policy. I went on exchanges with one of the assistants this last week and was able to help him turn in a few of the cars. So I was actually able to drive a car by myself for the first time in 2 years, it was a little weird, but fun. Im using brother Bogart's bike now, since I sold mine thinking that I would use it for the rest of my mission, but I was wrong. PK decided to make these next three weeks interesting, haha.
On a random note, we contacted a Catholic guy and he gave me a Rosary. Its pretty sweet looking actually, haha.
We started teaching a guy named David last night. Super tall guy, he is like 6'8 and has curly reddish hair, kind of looks like Napolean Dynamite, haha. We just randomly ran into him on the street last week while he was riding his bike and started talking to him. Turns out that he was good friends with a kid in the ward who just got back from Utah State. So we were able to set up a lesson and bring him with us. We taught him the restoration and it went pretty well. We are teaching him again this Sunday so we will see how that goes.
Diana, our investigator from Russia, is still good for next Saturday for her baptism and she is super excited. We took her to a baptism in Carlsbad so she could see what its like and she loved it!
Liz's baptism was Sunday in Murrieta. She was in my last area, Elder Polatis and I met her at an activity that her friend invited her to and we started teaching her. So proud of her, I will send pictures next week hopefully! 
I went on exchanges with Elder Willes this week as well. I used to live with him in a 4 man in Oceanside, so it was just like old times. I was in his area and he is still kind of new. We ended up doing service for one of their investigators, an older lady whose back was all messed up and helped her with her laundry, washing it and folding it.. Ive done a  lot of things on my mission, but have never done that before, it was kind of weird.. I guess there is a first time for everything. We taught her in between loads and I was trying to get a feel for how she was progressing. Come to find out she refuses to really learn more about the church and doesn't really believe much of it, at all. Shes pretty comfortable with her church, but still likes having the elders over. So after that whole ordeal I gave him some counsel on that whole situation, bless his heart. Doing service for people is great, especially if they aren't members, but if theyre just using you to do their dirty work and your just wasting your time, then that's not okay. Our purpose it to help others come unto Christ, not fold their underwear for them.. Some other cool stuff that happened on the exchange, we saw a Lynx from someone's back yard overlooking one of the Lagoons in our area and we met Mitt Romneys real estate agent, he lives in the La Costa Ward.
Im starting to feel just like I did a few weeks before left for California. I came to the realization that life as I knew it would be over in a few short weeks and it would never be the same again. I feel the exact same way now.
The church is true, I know that for a fact. This gospel is bigger than we think.
I love you all,
-Elder Daniel
-Taco Tuesdays in Oceanside

-My new source of transportation, Bogey's steed

-desperate times call for desperate measures.

-Bogey haha
-Just a Ferrari

The coast is white, already to harvest 5-18-15

This week we started teaching an awesome new family, a mom (Stacey) and her two young kids. She is good friends with a member of the church that lives in her complex and she has a cousin who is a member as well, she has just never been curious or exposed to the church before until now. E. Matson and another missionary actually just contacted her in the parking lot, asked her if we could come back and share a simple mission, and she agreed to have us back. We had a super awesome spirit filled lesson with her and her kids Saturday morning and were going back on Friday. This kind of situation can seem cliché, but when you’re actually there teaching, feeling the spirit, involved in the work, and are a firsthand witness of the hand of the Lord in someone else's life and you get to see the light of the gospel in their eyes for the first time, words can’t describe it. You simply have to experience it for yourself. So that is the main highlight of our week. Were still teaching Diana and are preparing her for her baptism on the 6th of June!!!! She is so solid, her energy and enthusiasm about her decision to be baptized is contagious. Where always laughing and smiling when we have lessons with her. She is becoming an American citizen next week, the weekend after she is getting baptized, and then it’s her birthday. So she is getting a triple attack of awesomeness coming her way! I don't know if I mentioned last week but there is lots of stuff happening in my last area in Murrieta. Ben was baptized last week and Liz is set for this weekend!!! I’m so stoked for both of them!
I was also able to go on exchanges with Elder Boehme this week. He is one of the missionaries serving in the Farci speaking ward. We were actually able to give an Iranian guy a blessing at one of the rehabilitation centers in Encinitas it was pretty cool. Elder Boehme and the guy we gave a blessing to were having a convo in Farci while we were visiting with him. I didn't understand a word, but it was super cool. It strengthens my testimony that the work of the Lord will roll forth unto every nation, tongue, and people.

I love you all,
-Elder Daniel

-The coast is white, already to harvest

​- Contacting mermaids
 - Exchanges with Elder Boehme

​-Messing with Bogey
Ben's Baptism